Home » Cricket Home » News » India vs Australia: Defiant Hanuma Vihari Quietly Quells Doubt Over His Place in the Side

India vs Australia: Defiant Hanuma Vihari Quietly Quells Doubt Over His Place in the Side

Hanuma Vihari's place in India's Test side was under scrutiny coming into the Sydney Test, but he answered his critics with aplomb as India secured a draw against Australia to keep the series alive.

India vs Australia: Defiant Hanuma Vihari Quietly Quells Doubt Over His Place in the Side

India managed to pull off an amazing draw against Australia on the final day of the 3rd Test at Sydney to keep the series alive going into the final Test at Brisbane. Both sides having won one match each in what has been an excellent Test series thus far, especially for neutrals. However, things could have been so very different were it not for the heroics of Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin, the latter of whom proved once again how useful an all-round player he is in the longest format of the game. But it wasn't Ashwin who faced as much pressure to prove his worth to the side as Vihari.

Going back as far as the second Test at Melbourne, there were question marks over Vihari's spot in the side with news reports suggesting team management would drop him after poor returns of just 16 and 8 in the first Test.

He held on to his spot but didn't fare much better, scoring just 21 in the one innings he batted. However, India winning the Test match meant that any changes to the side came down more to unavailabilities due to injury rather than form and so Vihari played at Sydney too.

India Show Character and Fight Injuries, Best-Attack and Banter In One of The Greatest Saves Of All-Time

His poor form continued at the SCG - he made just 4 runs in the first innings. Only a dramatic turnaround would ensure he kept his place in the side and that is exactly what happened.

Vihari's innings was one of defiance - he scored only 23 runs at a strike-rate of 14.29, which is slow even by Test cricket standards. But it made a difference as he and Ashwin snuffed out any hopes of Australia entering the Gabba with a 2-1 lead.

In truth, the situation was tailor-made Vihari. His India career was kickstarted on the back of him scoring plenty of runs in the Ranji Trophy as well as displaying a knack of sticking around for long periods. Sticking around was the need of the hour when he entered the fray.

Rishabh Pant's fiery knock that saw him dismissed just three runs short of a century did give India a glimmer of hope as far as getting a win was concerned but it was always a long shot, and any hope of a win went with Pant.

India vs Australia, 3rd Test: Hanuma Vihari, Ravichandran Ashwin Script India's Great Test Escape at the SCG

Vihari, who came out to bat after Pant, might have been playing not just to save the match but also for his place yet he didn't panic. He scored his first run on the 18th ball of his innings and even after getting off the mark, it's worth noting that Cheteshwar Pujara was scoring at a rate quicker than him.

Yet a double blow was struck in quick succession shortly afterwards. First, Vihari pulled up in the middle of a run and had to get his right hamstring checked before he continued to bat after getting his thigh strapped up.

Then came the dismissal of Pujara shortly thereafter, an incident that was enough to make Indian fans nervous about losing the match, never mind even salvaging a draw.

Aussies Left Frustrated with Draw, Twitter Has Field Day

But Vihari remained undeterred. Unable to run properly due to the hamstring injury, he nevertheless looked to complete runs on occasion and block everything else that came his way. Only towards the end of the innings did he look to get the odd boundary.

It was all about survival, and survive he did. It didn't make for pretty viewing at times but fans who were in attendance or watching on television would have doubtless been hooked on every ball. And when the match ended, Vihari could take pride in the role he played in getting what was an excellent result for India.

Will this knock solidify Vihari's status in the Test line-up? Maybe not. It's worth noting that India prefer using Vihari in overseas conditions - 11 of his 12 Test matches have been played away from home, including his debut match.

Keeper-batsman Rishabh Pant Creates New Record After Innings of 97

And such is the fickle nature of sports fans that it will only take one poor innings to get the hounds on his back once again, whether for a 'lack of intent' or anything else. But one thing is for sure - the cricketing world has not seen the last of Hanuma Vihari.

Team Rankings

1 New Zealand 3198 118
2 India 3765 118
3 Australia 3498 113
4 England 4326 106
5 South Africa 2499 96
FULL Ranking
1 England 5405 123
2 India 6102 117
3 New Zealand 3716 116
4 Australia 4344 111
5 South Africa 3345 108
FULL Ranking
1 England 6877 275
2 Australia 6800 272
3 India 10186 268
4 Pakistan 7516 259
5 South Africa 5047 252
FULL Ranking